At first sight the lives of hermits, living in solitude and committed to a life of prayer and contemplation seems to be a world apart of the active practice of interfaith dialogue. Yet, there is a long tradition of seeking the divine together and thus making a contribution to better mutual understanding and an active contribution to peace between Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism in India.
Drawing on his experience of travelling to some of India's holy places, the life and work of writers like Thomas Merton, Charles de Foucauld and Abishaktanda and being himself a Benedictine hermit and Professor of Divinity at the University of St Andrews, Mario Aguilar opens up new possibilities for dialogue between three of the world's major religions in today's world. He shows how his own experience of an eremitic life has brought him into deep communion with pilgrims of other faiths, be it through shared silence or listening to each other's experience, through reading sacred scriptures together, through poetry or interfaith worship that draws on practices and texts from Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity.
This is a book for all engaged in interfaith dialogue and seeking to explore how spiritualities of silence, contemplation and prayer can make a contribution to peace and harmony in the world today.
Mario I. Aguilar is Professor of Religion & Politics and Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion & Politics at the University of St Andrews. He is also a poet, an eremitic Camaldolese Benedictine Oblate, and has published widely in his interests in the theology of contemplation, the history of religion and issues of interfaith dialogue.
Introduction. Experiencing Dialogue. 1. Hermits in Christianity and Hinduism. 2. Ordering Time, Space and Meditation Together. 3. Inter-Faith Encounters and Silence. 4. Creating Liturgies for the Absolute. 5. Reading Texts: Upanishads and Bodhisattvas. 6. The Silence of Death. Appendix 1. An Indian Eucharistic Prayer. Appendix 2. Morning Christian-Hindu Prayers. Appendix 3. Evening Christian-Hindu Prayers. Appendix 4. Roman Indian Liturgy (Eucharist). Appendix 5. Christian-Hindu Liturgies (Midday Worship). Appendix 6. Declarations for a Shared Humanity (St. Andrews and India).